How a year of coronavirus activity unfolded at the EU’s medicines regulator

The speed with which coronavirus vaccines have been developed surprised everyone and could transform public health into the future, says Dr Fergus Sweeney, head of the clinical studies and manufacturing taskforce at the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Here he gives us a glimpse at the work of the regulator over the past year as part … Read more

Covid-19 variants: Five things to know about how coronavirus is evolving

The Sars-CoV-2 virus is changing in ways that are making it more transmissible, increasing the severity of disease it causes and allowing it to infect people who should have immunity. These variants are causing concern among global health experts, particularly as there are signs that some vaccines may be less effective against them.  Here are … Read more

‘Needle in a haystack’: The hunt for coronavirus drug compounds in a Belgian biosafety lab

Professor Johan Neyts, a virologist at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at KU Leuven in Belgium, leads a team searching for drugs that can help us in the fight against Covid-19. His laboratory is part of two projects that are screening millions of compounds to find some that block the coronavirus from replicating and so … Read more

Q&A: Why shorter isn’t necessarily better when it comes to food supply chains

Fears over supermarket shortages during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic led many people to buy their food from local producers, raising the prospect of a transformation in the way people get their food in the future. But while eating locally and shorter supply chains are often viewed as a more sustainable alternative to our global … Read more

Buildings, tunnels and bridges could soon repair themselves

Stone and concrete structures with the ability to heal themselves in a similar way to living organisms when damaged could help to make buildings safer and last longer. Over time the weather, vibration, ground movements and general wear and tear can take their toll on the masonry and concrete used in buildings. But keeping buildings in … Read more

Q&A: Talking about the ‘race’ for a coronavirus vaccine could reduce public confidence

People’s willingness to have a vaccine changes depending on how at risk they feel, says anthropologist Heidi Larson. Image credit - RF._.studio/Pexels, licensed under the Pexels licence

Efforts to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 with a vaccine could be hampered by low levels of confidence in immunisation programs in some European countries, warns Professor Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in the UK. Surveys conducted by the project during the … Read more